Have you ever stood bathed in the floodlight of the fridge, unable to find anything in the slightly chaotic mess within, however long you stand and stare? You eventually close the fridge, with an exaggerated sigh of disappointment, because this time you really, really hoped that the fridge had the answer.
Nothing within has tempted you, because the truth is that you might feel a hunger within, but it is not a hunger for food.
Fridges keeps food cold. End of. Yet despite having a PhD in science coupled with decades of evidence to the contrary, I still search within that haloed light when I want to find the answer to anything that is out of kilter in my life.
My fridge has never claimed to have these powers. The instruction booklet did not say “open the fridge whenever you feel life isn’t going the way you want it to go” – well it might’ve done, but whoever reads the instructions for a fridge? Plug it in, put food in, put these somewhere safe and read them only if your fridge starts acting strangely (like having the answer to life’s deeper mysteries such as ‘Why the heck am I feeling like this?’)
I need is a neon light in my fridge that says “I don’t know why you’re feeling weird, but step away from the cheese”.
Feeling Weird Is So Well….
I find emotions hard to explain (my default term is “icky” which gives my husband zero clues on what he might be able to suggest to make me not-icky) but sometimes I find that feeling them is difficult too.
So instead of leaning into them, saying hello and listening to what pearls of wisdom they might have to add to my life, I have developed an unhelpful trait (and I believe I am not alone in this) of distracting myself with wine, ebay, shoes, craft, reading and more. All this despite decades of evidence proving that none of these things have ever, ever, made me feel anything more than lardy, hungover and broke.
The fridge cannot help, because I wasn’t searching for a sandwich. I was hungry for meaning, for joy, for purpose in my life. My mojo had left and being hungover wasn’t going to lure it back to join the pity party.
My Mojo Has Been Ignored
I have spent a great part of my life ignoring the more uncomfortable emotions, whilst constantly searching for those transient highs. They talked to me whilst I clasped my hands firmly over my ears and shouted “blah blah blah” at the top of my voice to drown them out. No wonder my mojo is in a bit of a frump. It’s not that I don’t feel them, in fact my emotional dial is tuned to “highly sensitive”, which may explain the apocalyptic hoarding of Frazzles around my house.
After decades of running from my emotions, I fear that I lack the expertise required to understand, interpret and accurately respond to them. How on earth will I learn this (surely complex) stuff when I am so far behind already?
Part of me is now considering researching psychology courses to help me understand myself better. Now that is what I call true commitment to distraction – three years of exams simply to avoid tuning into my emotions without reaching for a bottle of wine at the same time.
Put the Corkscrew Down
It’s time Emma. It’s time to find ways to make space and time for my emotions rather than shutting them out. To embrace the ones that make me feel icky. To find more words than icky to describe how I am feeling. To walk past the fridge without searching for the answers inside.
It’s time to discover what I am really hungry for.
The next time you find yourself staring into the fridge for the answers, why not try shutting the door, finding a place by yourself and simply breathing. You never know what you might discover.
When I first started in business, I made a HUGE mistake. More than once, in fact. Over and over again, I looked to what other people had done to build their business and copied them. I didn’t do anything as wise as looking around me for people I admired and copying them, oh no. I read books, I read ebooks and I copied people who had almost nothing in common with me. And I ended up with… a business I didn’t recognise, that felt wrong and made me wonder where I was going wrong.
The Slipper Police
My daughter loves rules. She loves being rewarded for being good, and she loves telling me when her brother is doing something he shouldn’t be doing. And sometimes that comes in handy: “Mummy, he’s eating conkers” was a time when her tell-tale nature really came into its own. She was shocked last year when she noticed a Christmas tree still up in the middle of January – “you can’t do that” she cried indignantly. I reminded her gently (through my giggles) that there are no Christmas Tree Police.
This morning she was at it again – everyone had their slippers on, except her brother. “Put them on!” she ordered, as the self-appointed first ever member of The Slipper Police!
And as my smile died on my face, I couldn’t help but ponder just how many times I have listened to advice and added it to a long exhaustive list of THOU SHALT OBEYs that impact every single aspect of running my business.
Most authors want to tell you how to do things. All the books and ebooks I read when I started my business told me everything I needed to do – without a shred of doubt or wiggle room.
Thou Shalt Have a Website!
and yet I believe that businesses have thrived perfectly well for thousands of years before the internet was invented. People are equally evangelistic about all the other online forums for building connections, be it Instagram, DoodleFugYourCat or the next new thing to leech your time away from actually getting to know people in your own street.
Yet if we all read the same books and take the same steps, all we create are cookie-cutter businesses that are just slightly different versions of each other. And then we wonder why no-one notices us. Why should they, when we all look and sound the same?
What if you want to create a Quirky Business, a Pink Haired Business?
Rules Squish Your Pink Hair
Let’s take a simple example: most business books agree that you need a business card. Maybe you do, and maybe you don’t.
Even if you decide it is a good idea to have a business card (there are no rules), the very phrase business card will limit your interpretation of what yours could look/ feel/ taste/ smell/ sound like. I love the idea of a card that smells like a brand new car (if you are a car showroom) or play like a miniature guitar (if you are a guitar shop or teacher) or sound like waves lapping on pebbles if you are beach-side B&B. Just writing “what your card sounds like” brought a burst of inspiration to this post.
Break out of prison by starting OUTSIDE the walls.
Give yourself a blank piece of paper and put a word in the centre. Definitely not “business card” (and not just because that is two words) as that has too many limiting (predictable) associations with it. Use “thing” if you want it to be a physical something you can hand over. Put “feel” if you want it to be an experience people don’t forget, and keep only in their memories. Put “Floogy” if you don’t want to give it any boundaries at all.
What you want that Floogy to create? What experience do you want people to have when you Floogy them? When you hand over your thing, what do you want people to feel? What do you want people to do with it?
I decided that business cards are all too easily filed into a desk drawer and then chucked into the recycling twice a year when you have forgotten who the person was. So I decided I wanted something that made people feel good about themselves, so that they would want to keep it. Now I give out glass diamonds and say “you are special, this is to remind you to bright like a diamond”.
And it does exactly what I set out to do.
A few years ago, a lady came up to me with this plea: “Can I have another Diamond please? My daughter was sad and having a bad day, so I told her how special she was, and gave her my Diamond to cheer her up and keep it with her.”
Has anyone ever done that to your business card?
Think Pink Hair and remind yourself “The Business Card Police Do Not Exist”
Sky has noticed a few subtle signs that Lucy might be looking forward to her weekend. But why is this? Why should weekends be any more fun than weekdays? What if your “work” was as much fun as your weekends?
Whilst this is called “Pink Hair Moments” it’s not just about her hair. Lucy has pink hair in bunches. Don’t ask me why – it’s how I drew her years ago without really thinking why. Her hair is part of who she is. It reflects her personality, her quirky weirdness. It gives me licence to send her on mad adventures and wherever she goes, she is instantly recognisable. For a stick figure, she stands out (and with just a circle for head and a few lines for a body, that is no mean feat).
Her hair is just an expression of her personality. It is her personality which draws people to her, or puts them off. And putting people off is fine too. I was talking to Lee from Welshot Imaging at a conference, where I was speaking on “How to be Unforgettable”. She said this fantastic line:
“I want to learn to be me, without putting anyone off“.
Oh, how I feel the tension in that phrase. I was gentle with her and asked her “Which one did you really want, Lee?” Because by being herself, she was going to put some people off, and that is okay.
Not everyone likes me. I once delivered a high energy talk on Inspiration (my titles have improved since those days), and someone during the break said “Are you always like this? I would find it exhausting” That put me in my place! My website has pink and purple. A fellow speaker once cautioned me that it was too “girly”. Word Up – I am girly. I like pink and purple. I like quirky. I am marmite. I tried changing to attract more clients and I just got lost in the crowd.
So here I am. Proud to be pink, proud to draw Lucy and being “paid to play” (my new definition of work).
Anyway, back to the idea in hand….
How can you make your weekdays as much fun as your weekends?